Until he was 18 and graduated from Charlotte High School in Punta Gorda in 1974, Bill Gomes spent most of his time in the saddle, working with cows on ranches in Charlotte and DeSoto counties. He was a “Florida Cracker,” a cowboy. He wasn’t much interested in his education.
Gomes’ view of himself and the world began to slowly change when he ended up in basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C. The Army made him a new man by the time he got out of the service and went on with his life 15 years later, he said.
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